What’s Cookin’?

19, Aug, 2010 Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

by the Boston Public Market Association

This week at the Boston Public Market on Dewey Square, look out for EGGPLANT!

Health Benefits
Eggplants are 90% water and are therefore low in calories.  It renews arteries, treats dysentery, and is used for bleeding problems and to influence blood in the lower part of the body.

Eggplant pairs well with strongly flavored vegetables and may be fried, stir-fried, sauteed, baked, stuffed or simmered.

To improve flavor and digestibility of eggplant cut eggplant into half-inch slices and sprinkle with salt.  Place on an absorbent paper, cover with additional paper, and top with a heavy or weighted cookie sheet for 30 minutes.  Rinse off the salt, drain or pat dry, and cook as directed.

Eggplant is at its peak in summer – purchase only firm and unblemished eggplants; discoloration or dents indicate a bitter fruit.  The smaller varieties generally have a thinner skin, firmer texture, sweeter flavor, and few if any seeds.

Courtesy of Seta’s Mediterranean Foods

4 tablespoons canola oil
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 baby eggplant
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1. In a skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until the onions soften.

2. Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and Aleppo or crushed pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, pull a vegetable peeler lengthwise along the eggplant to peel off strips of skin, leaving 3 strips of purple skin on each one.

4. Scrape the tomato mixture into a bowl.

5. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Have on hand a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

6. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil in the skillet. Add the eggplant, setting them peeled sections down in the oil. Cook for 8 minutes, turning several times, or until they are golden.

7. Halve each eggplant lengthwise without cutting all the way through, so you can open each eggplant like a book. Fill the eggplant with the tomato mixture. Transfer to the baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a skewer.

8. Cut all the way through each eggplant, sprinkle each half with parsley.